Last month we were in Duns to talk about transport issues in the area. The Royal Voluntary Service and Living Streets came along to talk about the work they have been doing in the Borders.
Four main themes came through from the discussions:
- Issues around connecting villages & towns through public transport
- Issues around pavements & bus stops
- Issues around timetabling and connections
- Issues with transport for medical appointments
For each of the themes we talked about some of the issues and potential solutions.
We will have a series of blogs to cover each of the themes. This one is about Connecting villages and towns through public transport.
One of the key issues raised by many people was no direct buses to Edinburgh and Kelso from Duns. Kelso is only 16 miles away but to get there by bus you need to change in either, Galashiels or Berwick making it around a 40 mile journey and can take anywhere between 1 hour 45 mins and 3 hours 45 mins depending on connections. This rules out Kelso as an option for employment unless you can drive and have a car. It also prevents people especially older people who don’t have access to a car from visiting Kelso to meet friends or go out for a day shopping. Another example is no direct service between Peebles and Selkirk you need to go via Galashiels this can make being called for jury duty a challenge if you don’t have access to a car as the court is in Selkirk.
“I moved here from Edinburgh, all my friends still live in Edinburgh. We could visit each other more if we had a direct bus”
Another example of a lack of connection between villages and towns is Swinton which is only 6 miles from Duns, where the only public transport options are to use the school bus during term time or the weekly bus that goes through the village, however, to use this weekly bus to go to Duns you would need to go via Greenlaw and the journey would take around 3 hours!
No evening service is another issue for people as it means they are isolated in the villages in the evening making trips to the cinema, theatre or meals/drinks out expensive as you either need to get a taxi home or rely on friends and family to collect you if you don’t drive or wish to have an alcoholic drink as the last buses are around 6.30/7pm. No evening services also impacts on employment options.
“The citizens panel meets in the evening and alternates meetings between Duns and Eyemouth, unless you have a car or can get a lift from someone you can’t go to the meetings in the other village as there is not bus service.”
Another concern for people was that with services like banks and post offices, dentists etc moving out of the villages people have much longer journeys to use the service and sometimes can be a full day out.
We looked at different solutions that other areas had come up with to solve their transport issues. A few caught their eye as possible solutions for connecting villages and towns.
Using school transport buses when they are not in use for school journeys. This works in other areas for example rural Lanarkshire where the Rural Transport Network have won the schools contract but use the buses at other times of the day meet the needs of the community.
Look to see what community groups have buses that could potentially be shared/rented out?
Another solution that many areas all over Britain use is community car share, this service does exist in the Borders through RVS and the SBC E car scheme but the group thought it would be good to see if their was a way to expand this or to make it more local?
Our next step is to map out what community bus resources exist in the area, when they are used and when they are not in use.
Other Blogs in the Series